The Brief Advantage

Nov 29, 2023

Achieving Exceptional Campaign Results is the dream of every marketer. And yet, the
cornerstone of this, an inspiring and well-thought, clear and simple Advertising & Media Brief, is
most of the time reduced to an uninspiring bureaucratic step.
But don’t get me wrong. Setting up such a brief is far from easy. Multiple surveys amongst
marketers confirm it. More emphatically, 80-85% of senior marketers in mature markets attest to
this. And at the same time, there is a huge gap of perception between clients and agencies, as
witnessed by the IPA study of 2022 in the UK: “The best way to brief an agency.”

A glimpse on the Greek market.

What goes on in the big markets, goes for Greece as well. Perhaps at a more intense tune. This
is mainly due to a series of factors. Among them:

1. Smaller companies, scarce human resources. Especially in strategy formation.

2. Recipient country. The Greek branches of international companies have less room to go
with local values, even if research suggests so.

3. Culture: Lack of openness in sharing info. In marketing conferences, the Greek case
studies are distinctively rare. Respectively, client briefs are poor in stating clear
objectives, in describing trials and errors, in listing the real pain points. A “fear of blame”
attitude restricts sharing of critical details that could offer the kiss of life for brands.

During the BOUSSIAS – MEDIARISK conference of Sep 2022 in Athens, “Media, the new
Creative”, participants were reminded of a survey of 2018, undertaken by EDEE & SDE on
media pitches. The survey revealed several shortcomings in the briefing process.

• For 40% of specs: no live brief given with the possibility of clarifying questions
• For 6 out of 10, the purpose of the brief was relatively unclear
• For 40% specs, the available budget was not specified
• Proposal preparation time was less than 3 weeks for more than half of specs
• 80% of specs were not completely clear about selection criteria

The culture issue is perhaps the most persistent obstacle of briefing in Greece.

Revisiting from another point of view, let’s see how much new TV campaigns are checked for
creative effectiveness before being aired. This is also touching accountability for marketing if
one takes the positive approach, as it could become the “marketer’s best friend” in improving
effectiveness and in substantiating the contribution of marketing to a positive business outcome.
And still, …

Thus, if in the five top European markets the percentage of TV spots pre-checked for creative
prowess is 100, in Greece the percentage is only 28. Meaning that a very high percentage of
clients deprive their creative agency from the fundamentals to constantly improve in
effectiveness. But they also deprive their media planners and media consultants, because a
very effective commercial can be planned differently. The campaign can aim for higher
continuity at lower frequency levels, and can deliver better in a cluttered environment, if we
need to touch only two media KPIs.

Summarizing in short “the good brief principles” along the lines of the above-mentioned
exceptional IPA document,

 Strategy is Sacrifice. Select your focus and be selfish and different.
 Complexity breeds Simplicity. Take more time to write less.
 Who will the strategy focus on? Who do you want to reach? Who not? Do you have
data on how they make decisions? Contextual findings?
 What is the offer to the target? What Positioning?
 How will we REACH this Target Group? Objectives? What do we want it to do/get?
 Strategy, then Brief. Don’t brief before your strategy is complete. Revise older versions!
Is it worth going the extra mile with your next brief?

Well, if advertisers are getting the ADVANTAGE in any other market, in Greece they will have
the MULTIPLE vs. their competitors, as chances are that competitors probably don’t! Do it and
follow your agencies and consultants as they will have the ammo to go beyond their up-to-now
performance. Not least that you will have an a posteriori sharp set of requisites to judge if the
work done meets the tasks outlined with so clear and simple terms in the brief.

Visit the full IPA report at:
the-best-way-for-a-client-to-brief-an-agency.pdf (ipa.co.uk)

Author: Milton Papadakis

Mediarisk is associate of EBIQUITY for GR & CY

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